Rome Beauty gets its name from its appearance and Rome Township, Ohio, where it first appeared. Romes are also known as Christmas Apples, because they look like the apples on the holiday table or in Christmas stockings. The fruits are large, thick-skinned, rich red and beautiful. Sometimes the gorgeous red color of their skin will bleed into the otherwise white flesh, causing people to suspect that they dyed. Romes do not bruise easily and will keep for a few weeks, but they can become flavorless and mealy if kept too long. Romes first ripen in late September, and the harvest season can extend for four weeks.
History: The Rome apple was discovered in the 1820s when a seedling tree planted on the bank of the Ohio River began to produce intensely red fruit. Horatio Gillett took cuttings from the tree and initially marketed it as “Gillett’s Seedling.” It was renamed Rome for Rome Township, Ohio where it had been found.*
Taste Profile: Romes have a mildly sweet flavor that improves with cooking; they have a firm texture.
Suggested Uses: Romes are excellent cooking and baking apples, especially good baked whole or in pies. They are also good for cider, and when eaten raw they have a pleasant, mild flavor.
*Information from Wikipedia and Roger Yepson, Apples. New York, W. W. Norton, 1994. p. 200